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“I like to use the old ‘reduce, reuse, recycle’ method when looking for green materials. Those three words are in order of effectiveness—reducing the number of new materials is the best way to not consume more resources,” he explains. Installing solar panels is one of those major renovations that is totally worth it in the long run—but it requires a larger spend now, which isn’t always feasible. Still, Gaddy says it’s worth considering, especially depending on where you live. Typically, standard toilets use 3.5 to 7 gallons of water per flush, while low-flow toilets use 1.6 gallons of water or less per flush, making this a much more efficient option.

Replace fluorescent light bulbs with LED bulbs

Most of the places I’ve lived in California have had vintage, single-paned windows. While they’ve all been pretty to look at, I’ve got one word — brrrrrr. Having lived through California’s blackouts two years in a row, I would love to have steady power from one of the most reliable things in the galaxy — the sun. If you aren’t able to afford solar panel installation upfront, leasing might be a great option for you. Sunrun offers leasing and monthly loans, and of course, you can purchase them outright to take advantage of the 30% tax credits still available. Harvesting rainwater is a process of collecting and storing rainwater for future use.

Our editorial team does not receive direct compensation from our advertisers. Bankrate follows a strict editorial policy, so you can trust that we’re putting your interests first. Our award-winning editors and reporters create honest and accurate content to help you make the right financial decisions. Making a home more eco-friendly is no longer a “go for broke” proposition. Consider the opinion of Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, the man who created Sherlock Holmes, literature’s master of logic and deduction. He said, “The little things are infinitely the most important.” They also tend to be the most economical.

Looking for environmentally-friendly materials and ways to build a sustainable, energy-efficient home?

At its essence, being “eco-friendly” means you are not causing harm to the environment or people—but that can look like many different things. For example, greenhouse gases are almost inevitably emitted during the production and shipping of products. However, a company can work to minimize and even offset those effects (which is called having a “negative carbon footprint”) through its policies and practices. Earth-sheltered houses may remind you of Hobbit homes as they are usually built into hillsides, making the most of the natural insulation properties of the earth.

Another way to conserve water is to turn the tap off between brushing and rinsing your mouth. Switching to a cold water detergent and doing your laundry in cold or warm water can also reduce water usage. Similarly, eco-friendly faucets and showerheads are more efficient in water usage. Changing them for more efficient models can save water and positively impact your water bill. Offering longer life, greater energy efficiency and fewer toxic metals, these new bulbs are worth the switch.

Pick the Right Architect or Building Designer

These structures are built of bricks of compressed straw that is sealed with a moisture barrier and finished with an attractive plaster outer layer. Because they’re made with a renewable material and because their thick walls offer superior insulation, straw bale homes are highly energy efficient. Using shipping containers to create homes recycles the containers in a way that is structurally strong and extremely energy efficient. Building is fast and doesn’t require a large number of added materials that need to be manufactured and shipped to your home site. A professional can give you advice on easy improvements, like foam injection, blown-in attic insulation and other options for insulating walls, floors and ceilings to create a more sustainable house. Renewable energy is generated from naturally replenishing resources like the sun, wind, and water.

And it can be very easy, especially during the winter months, to leave your heating on for longer than you strictly need it. Smart meters can are a must for anyone looking to reduce their carbon footprint and decrease their energy bills. Many new appliances are now designed to be more energy-efficient than traditional models. This means How to make your home more environmentally friendly they will use less electricity and water, leave a lower carbon footprint, and save money on your utility bills. For example, if you run your air conditioner for most of the summer, you might want to consider replacing it with a newer, more efficient one. Reducing your energy consumption will save you money on your utility bills.

Use Repurposed or Eco-friendly Home Products

Upgrading your curtains and blinds is definitely a great way to maintain the temperature and make your home more environmentally-friendly. This weekend is a great time to think about making some small, sustainable changes around your home. Besides being good for the environment, cutting down on your energy usage and going green at home often has the added benefit of saving you money, too. After all, “the global food system is responsible for around a third of the world’s greenhouse gas emissions—not to mention, half of the planet’s habitable land is used to produce food,” she continues. “Adopting a plant-based diet is by far the greatest action you can take to lower your carbon footprint,” she asserts.

  • However, modular homes built in factories close to the home installation site significantly save on emissions.
  • Having a battery installed is an easy and convenient way to make sure you have continuous power and remain a sustainable house.
  • This means there is virtually no maintenance, saving natural resources and money that might be required for wood and synthetic building materials.
  • Your home can become even more eco-friendly with a three-season sunroom, which doesn’t require an auxiliary heat source hooked up to your electric system.

There have been significant advances in the past decades when it comes to energy-efficient appliances—think less heat lost through the oven and more cold retained in the freezer.. If you are in the market for new appliances, prioritize ones that are Energy Star certified. Heating and cooling your home uses a lot of energy throughout the year—and old windows can be a significant contributor to your energy demands.

Small changes you can make around the house to save energy (and money)

As awareness of climate change has grown, so has talk of how to improve energy efficiency in the home. However, there is a big question mark over how to enhance the green credentials of period properties originally built in a much less eco-conscious era. However, overall it would be pretty wise if you wanted to invest in the power of solar energy. Don’t worry, it’s no longer limited to those giant solar panels that are bolted to your roof.

  • Reducing your energy consumption will save you money on your utility bills.
  • A compost bin will help you get rid of leftovers and will give you free fertilizer you can use for your plants.
  • But instead of sending items to a landfill, drop them off at a thrift store, such as Goodwill or Housing Works.
  • They help in regulating the temperature inside by keeping the home cooler in summers and warmer in winters.
  • Solar panels are an excellent long-term investment and can help you save money on your energy costs.
  • Here’s a checklist to get you started as you tackle new projects around the house this season and beyond.

Even the color of the exterior is designed to maximize the efficiency of the structure. Still, solar panels are a hefty expense, so you’ll want to be sure that going solar is worth it where you live. Washing clothes in cold water saves energy because the water will not need to be heated, which can account for 90 percent of energy used. Additionally, it will help the environment by reducing CO2 emissions.

There are even special solar shades and blinds, starting around $150 per window, that allow only 5 percent of solar rays through. While some eco-friendly improvements cost a lot, there are low-cost things to do — relatively quick and easy — to make your home more energy efficient and less wasteful. In fact, 68 percent of those surveyed in a recent Angi study spent under $5,000 in making their homes more green. You can also help the environment by reducing the amount of waste you produce.

How to make your home more environmentally friendly